#Cover the athlete
#CoverTheAthlete is a movement that demands the media coverage to focus on the athlete and their performance, and not a female’s hair, clothes or body.
The first statement on the cover the athlete website says, “Something’s wrong with media coverage of female athletes.
“Sexist commentary, inappropriate interview questions, and articles focused on physical appearance not only trivializes a woman’s accomplishments, but also sends a message that her value is based on her looks, not her ability. And it’s much too commonplace.” The video adds questions asked of female athletes over footage of male athletes to show how ridiculous the comments sound in the context.
In the video, you can see the men grimace and look confused and ask if the interviewers are serious, which is probably close to how they would react in real life.
“Can you give us a twirl and tell us about your outfit?”
Eugenie Bouchard reluctantly agreed to “do a twirl” when asked by Channel 7 commentator, Ian Cohen, at the Australian Open in January.
At the same tournament Romanian Simona Halep was asked, “As your profile rises, people find out more about you.
“Your breast reduction surgery was three or four years ago.
“Does that play any part in your success? What about outside the tennis?”
NBC New York Headline for the 2012 Summer Olympics Women’s Volleyball read, “Olympic Beach Volleyball: Great Bodies, Bikinis and More.” Women athletes responding to these questions only makes it obvious this is a social norm.
Cover the athlete is campaigning to eliminate this.
The hashtag, #CoverTheAthlete has led to a viral campaign.
The public, both male and female, have been responding positively to the movement on social media outlets.
Rumon Carter tweeted, “Sport matters. Gender doesn’t.”
Cover the athlete movement has inspired many writers and athletes to reflect on gender stereotypes, such as Elaine Elliott who wrote about gender inequality in climbing.
Martina Allen, second-year Trojan on the women’s basketball team, said she dislikes it when people say, “Oh, it’s a girl’s sport. That’s not exciting.” “I don’t think it’s right, girl’s basketball is just as intense and exciting as male sports are.” She also finds it frustrating when people are surprised by women’s abilities at the gym.
Allen said women who feel intimidated by the difference between male athletes and female athletes should just go out and play and have fun regardless.
Even if there’s no one out there watching, it doesn’t really matter what anyone else thinks as long as you’re having fun and doing what you love she said.
Allen believes SAIT to be equal to all athletes, but she has recognized inequalities in sports outside of school.
“I didn’t really know about [cover the athlete]. Now I have to go tell everyone about it,” said Allen.
“It’s a good movement because within sports you see a lot of inequality.”
To learn more about the #CoverTheAthlete movement go to www.covertheathlete.com.